Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Kūchū Buranko - Episode 11 (Completed)

As Kūchū Buranko reaches its final episode, so it manages to deliver the most surreal instalment of the bunch, as it relates the story of Hideo Tsuda, who you may recognise as the father of Yuta Tsuda, the boy with the cell phone addiction featured in episode six.

This particular episode does away with the usual pattern for this series - Rather than Hideo struggling with his issue before going to Doctor Irabu for help, this instalment instead sees the senior Mr. Tsuda working himself to the bone in the emergency department of Irabu General Hospital at a busy time of year. Outwardly, he seems to be a kind, conscientious guy with a heart of gold and nothing but dedication to his patients, but this hides something of a heart of darkness when it comes to his family. Quite simply, Hideo finds it nigh on impossible to deal with family life, which leads to him storing up resentment for his son and wife's problems that threaten to bubble up from beneath the surface to consume him.

Irabu himself really does nothing to resolve this situation directly, as it's Hideo's own realisation that he needs to listen to his family's needs as he does those of his patients that puts him back on the right track as his thoughts and a breakdown of sorts threaten to drive him to despair - A discovery that segues in nicely to the Christmas feel of this episode that plays up the importance of family and the realisation that nobody is perfect. It's a pretty simple and well-worn message, made somehow more compelling by the intensely surreal method of delivery which worked rather well in terms of keeping my attention.

Overall, I have to give Kūchū Buranko some kudos for what it has attempted to do - It didn't get it right all of the time, but it still managed to hit the mark more often than it missed it, and for me that's worthy of plaudits given the difficult nature of the subject matter (which somehow this series managed to treat sensitively yet still light-heartedly). The crazy aesthetics of the series also did the job better than they might have done - You could argue that the ultra-colourful and brash look of the show and the weird mix of live-action and traditional animation were mere gimmicks, but in a series that seeked to show the world through the eyes of those lost in obsession, fear and worry it seems somehow appropriate. At the end of the day, Kūchū Buranko isn't just a brave series but one that also pulled off much of what it intended to do come the end of the day - A rare feat these days, so one that should certainly be applauded.

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